This Black And White HDB Flat Is A Hardcore Minimalist’s Dream Come True


A monochromatic theme is one of the easiest interior design palettes to execute, but it can also be one of the most difficult styles to get right. Done properly, these homes use shades of black and white to great effect while mixing in textures to keep things interesting. But if done wrong, they can easily become monotonous, boring and rigid.

Luckily for the husband-and-wife duo staying in this four-room flat, their monochromatic home – designed by Wilson Teng and Vandra Png of local interior design firm Studio FortyFour – belongs to the former category. Recounting how the chosen design theme came about, Wilson says, “The husband loves black, while the wife loves white. As such, a monochromatic theme was only natural”. However, to inject some warmness into the space, wood-effect tiles were used on the floor throughout the home.

Entering the home, one is immediately greeted by an open free-flowing space that serves the living, dining and kitchen areas. This was achieved by knocking down the original partition wall that closed off the kitchen from the rest of the home. Then, to allow for better space utilisation, a white marble quartz-topped island unit was installed adjacent to the front door. Functioning primarily as a dining table over which the couple indulges in steamboat sessions, the hollow slit down the middle helps conceal the pot’s wire, in turn allowing plates of food to be placed all over the table without having to accommodate the bulky wire.

For the storage of shoes, a series of full-height cabinets adorn the entryway wall. But unlike traditionally designed cabinets, these feature ventilation slots at the bottom that provide air circulation for the shoes within. “With the apartment facing the sea, there is a high level of humidity throughout the space. As such, we included air vents within the cupboards to prevent the shoes from getting musty,” Wilson explains.

Meanwhile, the absence of built-in fixtures within the living area gives it a neat profile, which also further enhances the light and airy atmosphere throughout the home at the same time. And although simply furnished, the dark grey sofa from Danish furniture brand HAY and accompanying black-accented furnishings are statement pieces within itself that stand out amongst its white surroundings.

Moving on, the kitchen stuns with a striking material palette. This can be seen through the use of a marble quartz countertop that extends slightly up onto the backsplash, as well as the black mosaic tiles that sit atop it. Above the sink, a curved false ceiling catches the eye. “It actually hides the kitchen pipes,” explains Wilson, “but the curvature transforms the box up into a more architectural element, and also makes it more visually appealing than if a rectangular box up was used.”

At the furthest end of the home, the homeowners’ private chambers come into view. A quick look around reveals that although the wood-effect tiled flooring is in the same colourway as the communal zones, the ones here are instead laid in a herringbone pattern. By doing so, there is a distinct yet subtle separation between both functions of the home. Additionally, as the sleeping zone was minimal in design, the patterned floor also helps inject visual interest into the space.

On the interior, there is a triage of colours on the upper surfaces of the room – plain white on the ceiling, light grey on the top three-quarters of the wall, and black on the last quarter. “This makes the gravity in the room much lower, which is essential in creating a more comfortable room for sleep,” Wilson adds. For illumination purposes, a pair of HAY wall lamps line each side of the bed, where the power cord was left exposed. Given that the rest of the room has clean and straight edges, leaving the cable exposed creates a free-flowing profile that makes the sleeping zone less rigid and stern.

To allow the space to better serve the homeowners, the designers also included a dresser within the bedroom. Although leaving it as a floating desk would have created a sense of design consistency with the pantry area in the dining zone, the two table legs attached to the dresser adds more visual interest and dimension into the space.

With two bathrooms in the home, the designers took the opportunity to create separate “his” and “hers” private sanctuaries for the couple, which are distinguished by the colour scheme – white for the lady and black for her partner. Aside from the opposing colourways, the two spaces are mirror images of each other in terms of design, where mosaic and stone-textured grey homogeneous tiles line the upper and lower half of the walls respectively, and terrazzo-patterned solid surface quartz slabs were used on the vanity sink.

Given the amount of thought and effort put into this apartment’s five-month makeover, it comes as no surprise that the project concluded on a joyous note for the Studio FortyFour team, where the end result is an abode that perfectly encapsulates the homeowners’ distinct personalities.

This was adapted from an article originally published in the April 2019 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: Studio FortyFour